9º World Congress on Health Information and Libraries

Salvador, Bahia - Brazil, September, 20 to 23 - 2005


4th Regional Coordination Meeting of the VHL

September, 19 to 20 - 2005

Designing a library for the future: a case study on reorganization health and medical library development and innovation

  • Director of Libraries, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas  - USA

Designing a library for the future: a case study on reorganization health and medical library development and innovation

Objective: To revitalize and align a library’s organization with a primarily digital environment; and to have the right employees doing the right jobs, increasing the library’s efficiency and effectiveness.
Methods: Case Study. Setting: an academic health sciences library with a staff of 52 serving a core clientele of nearly 20,000. In the library’s flattened organizational structure, departments were responsible for the print collection, while interdisciplinary teams maintained and enhanced the digital collection and services. A more flexible organization with a clearer focus on the digital library, doing the right things (effectiveness) in the right way (efficiency) was needed.
A task force developed a methodology and timeline to address the need. The task force used several methods, including group idea genera tion, individual job and team analyses, managers’ departmental analyses, statistics, an environmental scan, and a literature review to refine the library’s mission statement and create a new organization more clearly focused on the digital environment. The process was data-driven, flexible and inclusive.
Results: A new organizational structure was implemented in September 2003, with modifications in September 2004. After initial confusion with department charges, new assignments were well-received. All but three teams were retired as their responsibilities migrated to departments. The Organizational Efficacy Council (OEC) was created to continuously evaluate the library’s effectiveness and efficiency. The council’s oversight helps to ensure a library better aligned to meet the needs of the digital environment. The OEC offers an opportunity to mentor new members and gives them a broader perspective on library-wide issues. It has implemented an annual evaluation instrument using a new strategic plan with goals directed to maximizing digital resources.
Conclusion: Preparation, research and communication efforts resulted in a more efficient and effective organization better aligned with the Library’s mission, positioning it to better accomplish the shift to a digital environment.